Orono's Caden Gray (center) runs with the ball during Thursday night's varsity football game in Houlton. Orono fell 46-0. Credit: Joseph Cyr / Houlton Pioneer Times

The postseason has arrived for the state’s eight-player divisions.

Quarterfinals will be played in the North and South large- and small-school divisions this Friday and Saturday, with semifinals slated for Oct. 29-30 and regional finals on Nov. 5-6 leading up to the second year of state championship games in the eight-player ranks on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland..

The regular season continues in 11-player football for one or two more weekends depending on the class — B and C teams play their final games this Friday and Saturday while A and D teams will complete their schedules on Oct. 29-30.

Twenty-five teams statewide competed in eight-player football this fall compared with 10 when the Maine Principals’ Association debuted the sport in 2019.

Mt. Ararat of Topsham is the defending large-school champion while Old Orchard Beach won the inaugural small-school title. Mt. Ararat then defeated Old Orchard Beach 58-25 to capture the overall eight-player state crown.

With the increased number of teams this season, two separate state champions will be crowned.

This year’s North divisions featured competitive races at the top, with Waterville (5-1) edging Morse of Bath (5-2) and Camden Hills of Rockport (4-2) for the No. 1 seed in the large-school ranks.

All three teams will receive first-round byes this weekend, while No. 4 Mount Desert Island (2-4) will host No. 5 Ellsworth/Sumner (0-4) in the division’s lone quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Friday in Bar Harbor.

It will be the second meeting in as many weekends for the neighboring rivals, as MDI defeated Ellsworth/Sumner 52-14 last Friday night.

The MDI-Ellsworth/Sumner winner will play at Waterville on Oct. 30, with Camden Hills at Morse on the same weekend in the other semifinal.

Mattanawcook Academy/Penobscot Valley/Lee Academy emerged from a similar three-team battle with Houlton/Hodgdon/Southern Aroostook/Greater Houlton Christian Academy and Dexter for the top seed in the North eight-player small-school standings.

Mattanawcook outlasted Houlton 50-48 on Oct. 8, then concluded the regular season with a 58-20 victory over Dexter last Friday in Lincoln, to finish 5-1 and earn the top seed.

Houlton finished second with a 3-1 record and joins Mattanawcook in earning a first-round bye this weekend.

The division’s two quarterfinals will send No. 5 Mount View of Thorndike (1-4) to Millinocket to face No. 4 Stearns/Schenck (3-3) at 7 p.m. Friday and No. 6 Orono (0-7) to No. 3 Dexter (3-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Stearns and Mount View did not meet during the regular season while Dexter topped Orono 48-13 on Oct. 2.

The Stearns-Mount View survivor will play at Mattanawcook and the Dexter-Orono winner will travel to Houlton for regional semifinals expected to be played Oct. 29.

Telstar of Bethel (7-0) is the top seed in the eight-team South small-school ranks and will be the only team in the division to earn a bye after No. 8 Traip Academy of Kittery (0-7) opted not to participate in the playoffs due to injuries that had reduced its roster size as well as the youth and inexperience of the remaining players.

Telstar defeated Traip twice during the regular season, 52-0 last weekend and 62-6 on Sept. 4.

Three quarterfinals are set for this weekend, with No. 7 Sacopee Valley of South Hiram (1-5) at No. 2 Dirigo of Dixfield (5-2 and No. 6 Boothbay (3-4) at No. 3 Mountain Valley of Rumford (2-3) at 7 p.m. Friday and No. 5 Maranacook of Readfield (2-3) at No. 4 Old Orchard Beach (4-3) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Top-ranked Cheverus of Portland (5-0) and No. 2 Mount Ararat of Topsham (6-1) have earned quarterfinal byes in the South large-school division. Quarterfinals will send No. 6 Yarmouth (1-6) to No. 3 Spruce Mountain of Jay (5-2) at 7 p.m. Friday and No. 5 Gray-New Gloucester (2-5) to No. 4 Lake Region of Naples (2-4) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...